Chaos in Schwarzschild spacetime: The motion of a spinning particle

Shingo Suzuki, Kei ichi Maeda

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148 Citations (Scopus)


We study the motion of a spinning test particle in Schwarzschild spacetime, analyzing the Poincaré map and the Lyapunov exponent. We find chaotic behavior for a particle with spin higher than some critical value (e.g., [Formula presented] for the total angular momentum [Formula presented], where [Formula presented] and [Formula presented] are the masses of a particle and of a black hole, respectively. The inverse of the Lyapunov exponent in the most chaotic case is about five orbital periods, which suggests that chaos of a spinning particle may become important in some relativistic astrophysical phenomena. The “effective potential” analysis enables us to classify the particle orbits into four types as follows. When the total angular momentum [Formula presented] is large, some orbits are bounded and the “effective potentials” are classified into two types: (B1) one saddle point (unstable circular orbit) and one minimal point (stable circular orbit) on the equatorial plane exist for small spin; and (B2) two saddle points bifurcate from the equatorial plane and one minimal point remains on the equatorial plane for large spin. When [Formula presented] is small, no bound orbits exist and the potentials are classified into another two types: (U1) no extremal point is found for small spin; and (U2) one saddle point appears on the equatorial plane, which is unstable in the direction perpendicular to the equatorial plane, for large spin. The types (B1) and (U1) are the same as those for a spinless particle, but the potentials (B2) and (U2) are new types caused by spin-orbit coupling. The chaotic behavior is found only in the type (B2) potential. The “heteroclinic orbit,” which could cause chaos, is also observed in type (B2).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4848-4859
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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